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Asbestos awareness and working with asbestos

30 March 2022

Past exposure to asbestos currently kills around 5000 workers each year in the UK.  This is more than the number of people killed on the roads and exposure to asbestos whilst at work must be prevented to avoid these needless deaths. 

The Health and Safety Inspectorate has identified a number of situations this year already which have caused concern that employers are not providing the correct level of training to employees that may be exposed to asbestos in their normal work activities.

The Approved Code of Practice Management of Exposure to Asbestos in Workplace Buildings and Structure(ACoP 8) provides practical guidance to persons who have duties under Part 2 of the Health and Safety at Work (Jersey) Law 1989 who are involved in working with asbestos.  

Every employer must ensure that adequate information, instruction and training is given to all employees who are, or are liable to be, exposed to asbestos or who supervise such employees.

Asbestos Awareness Training

Asbestos awareness training should be provided for all persons whose work could foreseeably expose them to asbestos whilst carrying out their normal day-to-day work.  In particular it should be given to all demolition workers and those working in refurbishment, maintenance and allied trades where it is foreseeable that their work will disturb the fabric of the building.  

In practice, most of those working in the construction industry will require asbestos awareness training.

Work with Non-Licensed Asbestos

Additional training, in addition to basic asbestos awareness training, should be provided for persons who knowingly disturb non-licensed asbestos containing materials during the course of their work.  This covers a wide range of materials, including for example, a roofer removing asbestos containing roof tiles, a demolition operative removing asbestos cement sheets or an operative removing an artex ceiling or asbestos containing vinyl tiles.

Further guidance on the scope of the training required and methods of work is contained in Part 4 of ACoP 8.  Employers should be able to demonstrate that suitable, task specific training has been provided to workers that knowingly disturb asbestos.  

Refresher training, appropriate to the type of work, should be provided to these workers at least every 12 months. 

Inspection Initiative

The Health and Safety Inspectorate will be writing to contractors that have been identified as carrying out work with non-licensed asbestos in the last year to remind them of their training obligations.  Inspectors will also be carrying out site visits after Easter to check that contractors at risk have been provided with appropriate training and safe methods of work.  If situations are identified where no training has been provided and workers are at risk of exposure to asbestos, enforcement action may be taken to secure compliance with the law.

Further Information

Management of Exposure to Asbestos in Workplace Buildings and Structures (ACoP 8) 

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